The Office of Community Outreach and Engagement is dedicated to understanding the burden of cancer in the 23-county catchment area, forming partnerships with the community and scientists, conducting outreach, and facilitating implementation of evidence-based cancer risk reduction and screening to ensure that catchment area needs and disparities are addressed.
The team is a group of passionate and highly qualified professionals with years of experience in health care disparities, health equity, health system redesign, community-based health education, translational research, program evaluation, biostatistics and geographical information systems. The Community Outreach and Engagement team is also supported by clinical community navigators, community health resource coordinators and community health workers. All work together to connect community members to needed clinical and social services, as well as provide community education and outreach. Citizen scientists, research coordinators and research assistants link investigators and community members and facilitate access to interventional research trials, particularly for communities that are traditionally underrepresented.
“Together, we will expand education and access to evidence-based cancer screening and prevention services to address our catchment area’s needs and eliminate disparities.”
Jennifer Woodard, M.P.H., RN, CCRP, is the director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at the UF Health Cancer Center. In this role, she oversees all clinical and community services provided by the office. She has experience improving clinical systems to support evidence-based practice guidelines, with a focus on coordinating care across the cancer screening continuum and using quality improvement processes to create sustainable health care services. She graduated with her Master of Public Health degree from Indiana University and is certified as a clinical research professional through the Society of Clinical Research Associates.
Sable B. Barrow, M.P.H., CCRP, is the assistant director of clinical engagement and integration. In this role, she connects community members with clinical services, as well as supports recruitment and retention of clinical research participants in Alachua and Leon counties. She graduated with her Master of Public Health degree from the University of West Florida and is a certified clinical research professional through the Society of Clinical Research Associates.
Dana Brooks is a clinical community navigator for the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Marize Farag, M.S., is a research coordinator with the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics.
McLinda Gilchrist is a community health worker for the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Yi Guo, Ph.D., is the director of data analytics and evaluation for the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement. He is an associate professor of bioinformatics in the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics. His research focuses on the analysis of real-world data, such as electronic health records and medical claims, statistical and machine learning, casual modeling, and patient-reported outcomes. He works closely with the team’s medical geographer and data management analysts.
Leah Hartman is the community health worker with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Evelyn Martinez, M.P.H., is the clinical community navigator with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
LaTrina Massey, M.P.H., is the assistant director of community outreach and education. In this role, she establishes relationships with community stakeholders and ensures Community Advisory Board members are connected and informed of the work being done in the Community Outreach and Engagement office. She is located in our regional office in Tallahassee at the Bond Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center, to expand the center’s reach and address disparities in the Big Bend area. She graduated with her Master of Public Health from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Norman Morikawa is a clinical research coordinator with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Selena Ortega is a research assistant with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Laura Parra, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., is a community programs specialist with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Jorge Perez is a research assistant with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
Katie Stofer, Ph.D., is the director of community-engaged research support and linkage for the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement. She is a research associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. She focuses her research on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, especially in free-choice or informal education and outreach settings, with an emphasis on making STEM evident in agricultural education. Her primary interests center on how the public gathers, makes meaning from and uses current scientific research findings and how that use relates to their science identities. In particular, she examines science communication using visualizations of data and models. She collaborates with scientists conducting basic research to help them design innovative outreach projects around their work. She turns her research into practice by helping scientists and formal and informal educators improve their public engagement.
Melissa Vilaro, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.H., serves as a co-director for community engagement within the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement. She is an assistant professor of health and wellness in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. She previously completed postdoctoral training with a focus on cancer health communication and strategic message design in UF’s STEM Translational Communication Center, where she received a National Cancer Institute Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. She earned her Ph.D. in public health and her Master of Public Health from UF and her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. Her current research addresses cancer screening disparities among rural adults through the development and pilot testing of a culturally tailored web-based intervention that engages rural adults with their personalized nutrition risk information and tailored colorectal cancer screening messages.
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The UFHCC's Community Outreach and Engagement office is guided by a Community Advisory Board, which plays a vital role in collaborating with our leadership team, program directors and Cancer Center members to ensure that our work focuses on cancer-related issues that are critical to the communities we serve. The success of the Cancer Center and the CAB hinges upon members’ expertise working with diverse communities and stakeholder groups in North Central Florida.